In recent years, it's become increasingly obvious that long form content is king. Website visitors and search engines (looking at you and your algorithms, Google) have grown to associate longer content with higher value. This has had the unintended effect of influencing content creators to intentionally increase their word count. But the thing is, using more words just for the sake of creating longer content isn't really the point. Whether a blog is 200 or 2,000 words, what matters the most is if a blog is the length it needs to be to get its point across and impact its readers.
You see, not every blog has to meet a particular word count, but if you're looking to increase the readability and overall value of your content, follow these simple tips. They'll help you cut through the fluff, eliminate wordiness, and drive up the value of your content. And in case you're wondering, this is a super short blog, which is perfectly appropriate given the subject matter.
1. Stay on Topic
It's oftentimes best to focus each blog on a single idea. Take that idea, expand upon it as necessary, but don't include additional information that doesn't support the main idea of the blog. Save those ideas for future blogs. If you keep your focus narrow, you'll have lots more to talk about because each idea can seed a new blog. While going off topic and telling side stories can be tempting, there’s a certain art to saying exactly what needs to be said, nothing more and nothing less. If you stray off topic, reel it back.
2. Avoid Helping Verbs
Helping verbs (is, be, have, do, can, may, etc.) lengthen your post and blur meaning. Small changes like turning “She was thinking” into “she thought” adds clarity and strengthens your message.
3. Eliminate Prepositional Phrases
You’ll usually find prepositional phrases hanging onto the ends of sentences and altering the overall meaning in some way. Co-opt prepositional phrases back into a sentence by making the subject or object possessive, like this:
Example: The opinion of the group vs. The group’s opinion
A lot of the time, you can delete a prepositional phrase without harming the meaning you're trying to get across. For example, I could've deleted the prepositional phrase “in some way” from the first sentence of this section without losing much, if anything.
4. Avoid Overusing “That”
Sometimes using “that” helps a sentence flow or helps your reader understand your message. So, keep a “that” if it adds value or helps your reader make meaning. But, every time you have a sentence containing “that,” try reading it with and without. If nothing’s lost through omission, delete it.
I love language and all the power it wields. Perfectly placed punctuation and artfully used alliteration brighten my eyes and bring joy to my heart. As Lead Writer, I ensure the ideas, visions, and goals of our clients are able to reach their intended audience. Articulating complex ideas and representing them honestly, ethically, and artistically is something I consistently strive toward. When I’m not solving the world’s tiniest problems with concise word choice, you can find me enjoying nature, practicing yoga, and expanding my knowledge of human nature – sometimes all three at once.